In a few weeks time a very important anniversary will occur. The humble SMS will be 21 years old.
It is now estimated that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have access to SMS. During 2014 it is expected that the number of mobile phone subscriptions will exceed 7 billion. We are in the startling position of living in a world where it is highly likely that more people own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush (toothbrush owners come in at a paltry 4.2 billion). And as the number of people who own or access a mobile phone increases, so will the penetration of more sophisticated handsets. Today, 1.2 billion phones are internet-connected.
The mobile phone has created a direct, instant connection to the majority of people on our planet. And as the technology increases, that sense and reality of that connection will have a greater impact — both for the user and for the content (and content originators) with whom they interact. Only a few years ago social media was seen as a passing fad — a distraction. Now it is not only integrated into the lives of people and businesses, but is defining the development of communication. More than half of the 1.1 billion Facebook users use their mobile to access Facebook. More than half of all twitter traffic is also from mobile. Mobile is the growing country in our new world order.
There’s a reason why Facebook spent $1 billion in acquiring Instagram (the free photo sharing app). And it’s not because of the quality of the filters. It’s all about mobile! Facebook currently has no income from mobile, which considering how many hundreds of millions of people access their account via a mobile phone is astonishing. Instagram (whilst having zero revenue throughout its fledgling history) has a single-minded focus on mobile as a platform, and has the potential to support the primary use case for Facebook — sharing photos. Facebook is not a mobile-first company and has poor location data on its users. Instagram’s single-minded focus provides both of these — arguably to a greater long-term value than $1 billion.
So what are you doing about it? What is your nonprofit doing about it? It is very hard to overstate how crucial it is that the nonprofit sector understands the genuine and seismic shift that mobile technology is bringing to our world. The ability to engage with people, no matter where they are, is the most powerful and effective way of getting donors involved.
Out of those 4.8 billion reasons why you need to have a mobile website you can narrow it down to the one key fact that people are consuming more and more content on their mobile phones. That content (some of which your non-profit might push out as a text messaging campaign, QR code, location-based campaign, app etc.) invariably leads on to somewhere else. Do you really want that content to lead to a web page that was designed to be read on a 12-14” computer screen?
If you’re making the donate ask on mobile you need to keep the user journey within mobile. If you’re not making the donate ask on mobile, it would seem that there are just a few reasons knocking around why you should be. Go be mobile!